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Golf : Scoring


A hole is classified by its par; the number of strokes a skilled golfer should require to complete play of the hole. For example, a skilled golfer expects to reach the green on a par-four hole in two strokes (This would be considered a Green in Regulation or GIR): one from the tee (the "drive") and another, second, stroke to the green (the "approach"); and then roll the ball into the hole in two putts for par. A golf hole is either a par-three, -four or -five, rarely -six.
The key factor for classifying the par of a hole is the distance from the tee to the green. A typical par-three hole is less than 250 yards (225 metres) in length, with a par-four hole ranging between 251 and 475 yards (225–434 metres), and a par-five hole being longer than 475 yards (435 metres). Although uncommon, par-six and even par-seven holes do exist and can stretch well over 650 yards (595 metres). The gradient of the course (uphill or downhill) can also affect the par rating. If the tee-to-green distance on a hole is predominantly downhill, it will play shorter than its physical length and may be given a lower par rating; the opposite is true for uphill holes. Par ratings are also affected by factors such as the placement of hazards or the shape of the green, which can sometimes affect the play of a hole by requiring an extra stroke to avoid playing into hazards.
Eighteen hole courses may have four par-three, ten par-four, and four par-five holes, though other combinations exist and are not less worthy than courses of par 72. Many major championships are contested on courses playing to a par of 70, 71, or 72. Additionally, in some countries, courses are classified according to their play difficulty, which may be used to calculate a golfer's playing handicap for a given course (cf. golf handicap).


In every form of play, the goal is to play as few strokes per round as possible. A "hole in one" (or an "ace") occurs when a golfer sinks his ball into the cup with his first stroke (a drive from the tee). Common scores for a hole also have specific terms.
Numeric Term Specific term Definition
−5 Ostrich five strokes under par
−4 Condor four strokes under par
−3 Albatross three strokes under par
−2 Eagle two strokes under par
−1 Birdie one stroke under par
E Par equal to par
+1 Bogey one stroke over par
+2 Double Bogey two strokes over par
+3 Triple Bogey three strokes over par
+4 Quadruple Bogey four strokes over par

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